With Pacific GEOTRACES a year in the past and an Arctic cruise fast approaching (see countdown on the right panel)…it’s time for an update! This year between cruises has been quite eventful for me in all of the best ways possible. I defended my dissertation and became Dr. Bowman in December 2014. After writing a 300 page dissertation, I gave a public defense at Wright State University. The whole lab showed up in coordinated Hawaiian shirts and my committee members flew in from California and Connecticut for the big day.
The main bulk of my dissertation work was done on two cruises, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, both chronicled in this blog. The Atlantic results are now published in a journal called Deep Sea Research II and the Pacific paper is in the works.
Looking at the chemistry of water in the deep ocean is like flipping through the pages of a history book. Water in the deep ocean comes from the surface of polar seas where dense cold water sinks and begins a 1000 year long journey around the globe. Physical properties and radioisotopes in deep water are used to determine age, or time since the water was last in contact with the atmosphere. The international GEOTRACES program has sampled deep water between 90 and 900 years old, creating a timeline for mercury in the ocean. Since the industrial revolution began some 200 years ago humans have increased the amount of mercury in the atmosphere and now from our timeline, we can see concentrations of mercury in the ocean have increased as well.
One week after my dissertation defense I walked across the stage at graduation . My family and friends traveled to Dayton to help me celebrate and the next day I jumped on a plane to California! This research business never stops. I presented my work from the Pacific cruise at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting as I had earlier in the year at Ocean Sciences in Hawaii.
A few weeks after graduation I loaded up Liberty Bell (my jeep) and drove 2,700 miles across the country to Santa Cruz, California. After six years working as a “Midwest Oceanographer” I’m happy to report that I’ve finally moved to the coast! I am currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz where I will continue to study mercury in the ocean, and of course run hginthesea!